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How to handle clearing day: the power of innovative IT in UK universities



In 2015, the Conservative government abolished the student entry cap. This means universities can now accept as many students as they want. Since then, clearing day has become to higher education what Black Friday is to the retail industry, and while universities continue to ensure students select the most appropriate course, this period is becoming increasingly critical for many institutions. 

In 2018, for example, almost half a million students were placed into university through the clearing process. In fact, a record number of students (14,410) applied directly through clearing, rather than through the main scheme. Handling this demand is no easy feat, and often, it can leave your systems overwhelmed. 

While this figure steadily increases, even against the drop in the number of 18-year-olds in the UK, the challenge to universities to process these applications increases with it, and it puts a strain both on your human and technological resources.

But it doesn’t have to. Here’s how you can deploy innovative IT to handle the pressures of clearing day.


Increase mobility with virtualisation

In the last few years universities have begun moving their IT systems off of legacy servers and onto a virtualised platform.

What virtualisation means for clearing day, then, is increased workplace mobility, real-time data processing and improved application performance, without the risk to security. For your admissions team, it means agility in how you work. It means no latency so you can handle more applications without worrying about downtime. Most importantly, though, it means faster application processing.


Limitless opportunities with a hyperconverged platform

A-level results day is not only stressful for students, but for your university, too. In the retail sector, shops must be prepared for Black Friday. It requires careful planning, a stable IT infrastructure and the ability to handle more data, faster.

Sure enough, for universities, IT downtime during the clearing process is less frequent now than in 2011 thanks to the introduction of cloud computing. But the cloud was just the beginning, and as student numbers increase, so does the demand on your systems to innovate. 

Hyperconverged IT like SimpliVity works to organise your IT infrastructure and data services into an integrated, singular solution. In fact, the HPE SimpliVity HyperGuarantee means that you’re certain to: 

  • Achieve 90 percent capacity savings
  • Backups in under a minute
  • Full VM control in just a few clicks
  • No downtime or disruptions 

Come clearing day, then, a simplified hyperconverged strategy means your admissions team has the resilience, agility and bandwidth to remain available, deliver more and respond faster to admissions, as well as having built-in backups should they be needed.


Handle demand with data efficiency

Improving data efficiency must be a top priority to make your admissions team as effective as possible. You need to find ways to free up storage so your IT can function flawlessly. By deploying hyperconverged solutions, you can merge storage and reduce your physical infrastructure without losing the applications and data you need to handle clearing day. 

By defining your operations with high-speed software rather than physical hardware, you can build a foundation that’s ready for innovation and growth, without worrying about when you’ll run out of space. Consequently, you can focus on improving the ‘how’ of your work, rather than trying to keep up with day-to-day operations.


Sail through your clearing day

Clearing day is a stressful time for everyone involved. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be. 

By deploying innovative IT solutions like SimpliVity across your systems, and consolidating your applications into one unified location, you can simplify your processes, increase your data processing and reduce your reliance on data centre devices, making clearing day just another day at the office. 

To see how HPE can help you create an action plan for creating your own ‘future university’ download our guide: Smart students, smarter university: HPE’s IT innovation roadmap for UK higher education.

David Keigher
Hewlett Packard Enterprise


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About the Author


Dave heads up the public sector for the UKI and is passionate about discussing how technology can be used to better serve and improve outcomes for citizens.

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